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The Height Of Stupidity!

by John M. White |

It seems there is no limit to the height of stupidity! A fellow by the name of Kent Couch has tethered around 150 balloons to a lawn chair and was able to climb to 18,000' as he traveled over Oregon and into Idaho. I was watching an interview of this nitwit on Fox News earlier today, and could not believe that he would take some large party balloons, blow them up, tether them to a lawn chair and climb into class A airspace! Of course, he was well prepared with a couple of gps devices (so that he knew where he was), a b-b gun to shoot and deflate some of the balloons, a book to read on the flight and a parachute! At least he had sense enough to take a parachute with him. Apparently he has no idea of FAA regulations, and I wonder if anyone from the FAA has bothered to interview him yet. The interviewer was concerned about birds hitting his balloons - no one even mentioned an aircraft traveling hundreds of miles per hour hitting this contraption! Imagine you are climbing through FL180 and all at once you see this cluster of colorful balloons just before you hit them! Is this guy nuts, or what? To top it off he and another fellow by the name of John Freis decided to have a race in these contraptions through Eastern Oregon. Fortunately the winds were light and they only went about 70 miles, and Freis won the race. Couch’s first “cluster balloon” flight, four years ago, didn’t go far, and he ended up using his parachute to float to Earth. He made it a lot farther in 2007, almost 200 miles, and started drawing all that attention. Two years ago, he reached his goal of flying all the way into Idaho before landing, a 9-hour, 240-mile journey. I don't know about you, but this kind of activity presents a real and present danger to those of us who fly airplanes. Thank heavens someone didn't fly into this cluster of balloons, or we would have had more bad press for general aviation! Shessssh! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 That's not flying, that's just falling with style. — Woody, from the 1996 movie 'Toy Story,' regarding Buzz Lightyear. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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